Panera Bread redesigned restaurants to fix its 3 biggest problems

Future Panera 10Hollis JohnsonBehold the future of Panera: no lines, no cashiers.

Before Panera’s 2.0 initiative, the chain had some big problems.

The popular fast-casual cafe has rolled out the Panera 2.0 model in response to frequent complaints of long wait times for food, wrong orders, and crowded lines in stores across the country.

“We are extremely innovative and we launched Panera 2.0 in an effort to identify the friction and make it easier than ever for the consumer to access our product,” executive Brian Backer, director of enterprise architecture, told Fast Casual Magazine at the 2016 National Retail Federation conference.

Panera’s new system has been slowly put into place over the past 21 months, adding digital ordering kiosks to replace manned registers where long lines develop.

So far, the initiative hasn’t affected pricing or employee labour hours.

Future Panera 6Hollis JohnsonThere are still cashiers — well, a cashier — but most of the labour has been moved into the kitchen to ensure accuracy and quality.

“From the consumer standpoint, there are no changes to the costs of any menu items as a result of the investment in 2.0; however, 2.0 helps them save time, improves accuracy, and makes it easier to customise,” Blaine Hurst, Panera ‎Chief Transformation & Growth Officer, told Business Insider.

Panera is also reportedly working on integrating Apple Pay into the ordering experience.

Our Apple Pay in-app option now represents 24 per cent of our transactions, one in four, and we’re very happy with that,” Backer told Fast Casual.

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